Insurance Tips for College Grads From an Independent Agent

Insurance Tips for College Graduates

An Independent Agent Explains:

Buying Insurance for the First Time

This post is part of a series of insurance blogs on showcasing the expertise of independent insurance agents and aimed at helping you understand important insurance coverages and issues.


There is not a lot of education regarding insurance as you make your way through school. I know this from my personal experience raising, along with my wife, five (now grown) children. As recent college graduates, their transition to living independently included switching from our auto insurance to their own and getting a renters insurance policy for their apartments. Of course, they had no idea how to actually do this.

I found the same to be true for a nephew who recently graduated and accepted a job in another state. As he looked to purchase his own insurance, he decided to try an independent insurance agent, which is what I happen to be. Naturally, he reached out to me with his initial questions. “What should I expect when I meet with my independent insurance agent? Will I get competitive rates by going down this route?”

Naturally, I had answers and insights, and I wanted to share them here to help out other college graduates like him. Here’s a summary of how I answered his questions:

How Independent Agents Help You Get Competitive Insurance Rates

Independent insurance agents are not tied to any one carrier, so they can provide you with quotes from many different ones. They research their entire insurance channel to compare insurance prices, go over the options with you personally and make sure you get the right coverage for your needs. That might mean your auto policy is with one carrier and your renters insurance is with another. This flexibility helps you get the best insurance rates and coverage. Not to mention, getting personal insurance advice is a huge advantage to anyone, but especially to someone purchasing insurance for the first time.

What Your Independent Insurance Agent Needs

The more informed your independent insurance agent is, the better suited your coverage options will be. So, I told my nephew, be prepared to provide your agent with these four things:

  1. Your driver’s license or another form of proper identification.
  2. Information about the items, such as your car and personal belongings, you’d like to insure. This can include the vehicle identification number (VIN) of your car or truck and the value of your home stereo system, for example. Or, perhaps you received a nice watch or piece of jewelry for graduation and you need extra coverage on that item.
  3. Details about your prior insurance coverages. If you were previously insured under your parents, ask them for a copy of their policy documents. Bring this with you or email it to your agent so he/she knows what coverage levels you’ve had in the past. Depending on your particular situation, your independent insurance agent may recommend another level of coverage for you.
  4. An idea of what kind of deductible you can afford. You’ll need to pay this out of your own pocket if you get into a car accident or have personal property stolen from you before coverage from your car insurance or renters insurance kicks in. Oftentimes you’ll pay less for your premium the higher your deductible is.

Of course, I like to think that the overall experience of dealing with an independent insurance agent is very positive. It has been for my nephew, who felt that, by purchasing insurance through a family-owned business, he was treated like family himself.

I know the relationship my nephew has with his independent insurance agent will be invaluable as he continues his journey and launches into the next phase of his life. I hope your experience will be just as rewarding. 


Shaun Murphy, Independent Insurance Agent

About Shaun Murphy and Pablo Beach Insurance
Shaun Murphy brings 27 years of insurance experience to Pablo Beach Insurance, the independent insurance agency he founded in 2005 with his wife, Emily. Pablo Beach Insurance has three locations across Florida and counts one of the Murphys’ children, Spencer, as part of its leadership team. Shaun strongly believes in providing customers with a broad choice of insurance coverages from a variety of carriers and at a variety of prices. That’s why he started Pablo Beach Insurance, after experiencing firsthand how limited customers are when purchasing insurance directly from a carrier rather than from an independent agent.

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